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September 28, 2021

Emmaus Doubles

By Alvin Peters

Do you know what is worse than an angry man? I’ll tell you. A hungry and angry man. That was me last week. To tell you the honest truth, that has been me for some time. A miserable, hungry, and angry man. You should’ve seen my face. Then, when I least expected it, the most interesting thing happened in the most unexpected place. Just hear me out.

There I was, walking home, car keys in my hand, after my manager told me that I should take the rest of the day off after I almost had some choice words for a customer.

Hear this, after I spend my lunchtime helping this lady out, she had the gall to tell me that she saw it cheaper somewhere else but thanks anyway. Why this lady today, Lord, why? I twist up my face for she and was about to tell she a thing or three before the manager stopped me.

If you saw my face.

No, that is not the face you are seeing now. This is my hungry face. Let me continue.

You know, most of the time I don’t mind people, but there are some I can’t stand. This kinda world we live in you have to be hard or people will just eat you up and spit you out. Sometimes this world, oh gosh, it not nice.

Anyway, I was walking home because my car shut down. I forgot to fill it with gas that morning. I saw this doubles man not far from my home on the street near the playground. I never saw this vendor before. Fella looked around middle aged with some grey in his goatee but under his white hat, his hair was curly and black.

On the tray of a pick-up truck, he had this large wooden container. There was a water cooler to wash your hands on one side and a small plastic bin on the other. Usual doubles scene.

He looked up and called out to me, “You look hungry. Have some doubles nah? It will nourish yuh. Five dollars with everything!”

I asked for two with slight. He got to work. The smell of the channa make my stomach growl. I sighed.

“Bad morning?” he said as his hands moved quickly to put them together. “Yeah,” I said and told him what happened. He handed me the doubles and I mash them up in no time. I told him that it was one of the best I ever had.

He thanked me and said, “You mustn’t let things like that get you down. Life is like a good doubles, the sweet and the bitter go together. Things can’t always be nice and sweet. Going through de bitter and de pepper make the sweet moments worthwhile.”

I wondered, “Doubles men giving advice now?” I noticed there was a sign with a white background and there was a gold stripe running across it and in red paint it said, ‘Emmaus Doubles’.

Where have I heard that name before? I was about to throw away the wrappers when I noticed something was printed across it. I opened one and it said: Will what God wills, and your joy no man shall take from you. Fulton Sheen.

I said to myself that no way this man could make any profit using his money like that. Printing expensive you know. Like I said, these are hard times, and you have to be hard too.

Joy? God’s will? This man must be really mad. I hastily waved goodbye and went home to get a gas can.

I went by the doubles man a couple times after that. Part of me wondering how long it will be before his business buss. The other part wondered what quotes he would have on the wrappers. And de other part because dem doubles really good! Some quotes were kinda hokey at times, but some were nice. Listen to this one:

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed. Joshua 1.

After a while I thought that maybe he had a point. Life is hard, it is bitter but then the sweet moments make it worthwhile. You know? Ask God to help you out. That is all we have. What you think?

Bad mouth? Who you calling a bad mouth? What you mean yuh hope I didn’t jinx de doubles man? Anyway, we getting close to de place.

Listen, there’s something about that man but I promise you the doubles hot and delicious. I wonder what the wrappers will say today?

Wait nah? Where he is? Where de van? Where de doubles? No man, I not lying! He was here! Where he gone boy? Look! Here is one of my neighbours. I sure she saw him.

Hello! Mrs Frankie, you know where the doubles man gone? Yeah, the doubles man. What you mean you never saw a doubles man selling here? His name is Emmaus. I bought doubles from him a few times.

No, Mrs Frankie ah not drunk. I don’t drink till after four o’clock.

Okay Mrs Frankie. Yes, God bless you too Mrs Frankie.

Yes, Mrs Frankie you will see me in church.

Man, I’m telling you, I saw the doubles man here! I wonder why he left? This is real strange.

What you want now? Yes, I know yuh hungry. I hungry too! No, I don’t want to see your hungry face. Come I’ll make some bread and corned beef and then we’ll see Johnny and Petos and the rest of them. I know they will believe me….